The days are getting cooler, the leaves are starting to fall, it’s time for that autumn tidy-up!
Luckily, they’re predicting a lovely October, so we might have some of those wonderful, crisp autumnal days when it’s a real joy to be in the garden.
The first thing I do is empty the pots of summer bedding and replant them with spring flowering bulbs, pansies and polyanthus. I like to plant my spring bedding as soon as possible at this time of year so that they get a chance to establish a decent root system before winter – go to my last blog for a handy how-to on spring bulb planting.
Stop them in their tracks now, and protect those newly planted pansies and polyanthus, by sprinkling on some of my organic slug pellets. The other reason to use slug pellets now is that it will help reduce the number of snails over- wintering, so they should be they’ll be less of a problem next spring.
It’s a great time of year to sort out your lawn, especially those dips and hollows. Sprinkle in 10mm of John Innes compost and let the grass gradually grow through. Add more compost every few weeks through the autumn and winter until the lawn is level.
Falling leaves can be a blooming nuisance. One of the fastest ways to deal with them is with this Greenworks leaf blower. It’s incredibly well-balanced and light, making it very easy to use, and it’s also very powerful (with two speed controls) so it can blow even wet leaves into a pile.
Simply rake them up (I use my Golden Gark, which I love) and pop them on the compost heap, or even better, into black bags with a handful of grass clippings (see my website for a video clip) or chuck them into the green wheely bin.
Autumn is the best time of year for planting virtually everything, from trees and shrubs to roses and fruit bushes. So if you’re thinking of filling a gap in the garden, or indeed moving anything in the wrong place, do it now. The air temperature may be cooling but the soil retains a slight warmth which helps the roots establish over winter, so your plants get off to a cracking start next spring.
In my garden, the birds have been feasting on the fruits off the crab apple trees, but these natural food sources are dwindling by the day. I’ve noticed increasing numbers of birds flocking to my bird feeders so I’m making sure they are kept topped up. There are lots of bird foods available but an increasing number of them include so much wheat that they contain minimal amounts of nutrition.
My bird food is 100% wheat free, and provides up to four times the amount of energy compared with standard feeds. Quite simply, it helps attract a wider range of birds to the garden all year round, and it helps feed them better. Talking of feeders, Jackie Kabler was telling me the other day how much she loves her Wildlife World swing seat bird feeder. It’s designed for the smaller birds, and it’s a fun feature for the garden too.
As the leaves fall, and my garden begins to look a bit bare, I’m planning to cheer it up with some of the super bright Luxform solar powered LED lights we’ve featured on air recently. I’m going to drape them around a tree which normally looks really dull in winter. There are a very generous 250 lights on a 13m long cable, so they’ll make quite an impact. I’ve seen them displayed in the studio and I can’t wait to try them at home.